Shakeup in East could be interesting

Photo by Alphonso Abbott Jr.

Shakeup in East could be interesting
February 08
03:00 2018

For the first half of the season it appeared that the standings of the top half of the Eastern Conference were pretty much set in stone.  That no longer seems to be the case with what has transpired over the last two weeks.

Injuries to stars on playoff bound teams and the arrival of a big gun from the Western Conference could make for an interesting second half of the NBA season. 

The Cleveland Cavaliers may have suffered the most devastating loss of any team.  Starting power forward Kevin Love suffered a fractured finger on his left hand during last Tuesday’s game (Jan. 30).  Team doctors have stated that the recovery for the injury could take up to two months.

This injury could not have come at a worst time for the Cavs either.  They are coming off of a bad month of January where they were 5-8 overall.  They are also still trying to integrate Isaiah Thomas into the offense, which has not been as fluid as they would have liked.

Love was averaging 18 points and nine rebounds on the year as the second option to LeBron James.  With the Cavs only 5-6 in the games Thomas has played, Love’s injury is even more impactful. 

The Cavs are narrowly holding onto the Number Three seed in the East but this injury to Love could mean they may get jumped by the teams nipping at their heels.  I fully expect the Cavs to make a move before the trade deadline to address Love’s absence.

Another team dealing with injury concerns is the Washington Wizards.  Star guard John Wall recently had surgery to his knee and will be sidelined 6-8 weeks.  The Wizards are a game and half back of the Cavs in the East.  With Wall sidelined that could hurt their chances of grabbing a top 4 seed and home court advantage in the first round.

Washington will dearly miss Wall’s 19 pts. and 9assists per game.  Bradley Beal seems to be thriving without Wall and we all know they are not the best of friends but will that translate into wins is the question.

When it comes to the playoffs, the Detroit Pistons are on the outside looking in right now.  Sitting in the nine hole they felt they needed to make a splash trade for an All-Star caliber player to get them over the hump and that’s just what they did.

The Pistons have acquired Blake Griffin in a trade with the Los Angeles Clippers.  Avery Bradley, Tobias Harris and a couple draft picks were sent to the Clippers for compensation.

Griffin will now be paired with Detroit big man Andre Drummond.  While the Pistons are not contenders this year the acquisition of Griffin could pay dividends in the long run.  Guards love to play alongside a player with Griffin’s talents to go above the rim while also showing his improved range this season.

The Milwaukee Bucks have had an up and down year so far.  Many people, including myself, thought they would be one of the top contenders in the East.  Currently they occupy the sixth seed in the east.  That may soon change with the return of Jabari Parker.

Parker, the former Number 2 overall pick in 2014, has been sidelined all season recovering from a torn ACL he sustained last season.  In his debut last week he scored 12 points in 15 minutes of play.  As he rounds back into basketball shape he could be the missing link for a Bucks team that has under performed honestly.

Last but not least we have the Boston Celtics who have agreed on a contract with center Greg Monroe.  After agreeing on a contract buyout with the Phoenix Suns, Monroe had several suitors but elected to choose Boston.

Monroe will provide much needed low post scoring and rebounding for the best team in the east.  With the Toronto Raptors nipping at their heels, the Celtics needed Monroe if they are to hold onto home court advantage throughout the Eastern Conference playoffs.

I’m sure there will be more moves made in the days leading up to the trade deadline as general managers around the league try to improve their chances for either the remainder of the season or free agency this summer.

It will be interesting to see how these moves along with the moves to come in the future affect how the Eastern Conference plays out. 

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Timothy Ramsey

Timothy Ramsey

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